Zooplus board chairman Dr Cornelius Patt
Zooplus board chairman Dr Cornelius Patt expects higher logistics costs and a possible drop in sales as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Zooplus sets itself modest targets

The final figures for fiscal 2019 presented at the end of March by Zooplus, Europe's leading online retailer of pet products, were characterised by highs and lows.
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An increase of 14 per cent in sales to 1.524 bn euros, satisfactory earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of 11.8 mio euros (2018: 8.6 mio euros), but much poorer earnings before taxes (EBT) to the tune of -15.9 mio euros compared with -2.3 mio euros the previous year: although Europe's leading online pet supplies retailer continues to grow its sales, it is sliding ever deeper into the red.
One piece of positive news that Zooplus was able to include in its financial statement was the high repurchase rate of its regular customers. At 91 per cent, this was only slightly below the previous year's peak rate of 95 per cent. The number of new customers also increased last year, surpassing the figure for the previous year by 22 per cent with 3.1 million new customers registered. Private label transactions accounted for 16 per cent of overall sales of food and litter in 2019, two per cent up on the previous year. Thanks to this, the gross profit margin remained high at 29 per cent.
Zooplus also reported that it had been able to reduce its logistics expenditure due to operational improvements. On the other hand, marketing expenditure had increased somewhat against the background of the company's anniversary year.

Outlook for the "coronavirus" year

For the coming financial year, which is likely to be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Zooplus is expecting growth in the region of last year, thus in the order of approx.180 mio euros. "We are assuming less disruption in the e-commerce sphere than in classic distribution channels," says board chairman Dr Cornelius Patt. Although he expects that Zooplus will also benefit from the continuing steady demand in the pet supplies sector during the pandemic, it cannot be ruled out that even his company will have to bear the brunt of higher logistics costs and a loss in sales in the next few months. Zooplus has formulated suitably defensive targets for its EBITDA, which is forecast to be "below the level of the previous year, but in the positive to neutral range," according to Cornelius Patt.
This defensively oriented forecast had an immediate effect on the stock exchange. After the company's shares had jumped in price by around 50 per cent between 10 and 20…
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